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Game of the Month September - The Mind

There are so many games to choose from. But which ones are really worth the effort? Of course, being the Happy Scrum Master, I have quite a few favourites which I'm more than happy to share with you. This month we will be playing:


What is it?

The Mind is a very straightforward card game that, instead of playing against each other, requires you to work as a team to make it across the finish line.

The aim of the game is to create a row of successive numbers by using the cards in your hand. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But there is a catch (obviously). Under no circumstances are you allowed to communicate with each other. So, no talking, no hand gestures, no funny faces, no nothing. You will have to determine, or rather sense, if you should be the one to lay down the next card, or - oh, the horror - that very tricky first card, simply by looking at each other.

How does it work?

At the start of the game, you will receive 2, 3, or 4 lives (depending on the number of players) and 1 shuriken. Depending on the number of players, there are 12, 10, or 8 levels. In some levels you will be able to earn an extra life or shuriken. The level you are playing is the same as the number of cards you hold in your hands, so 1 card in your hands means you're playing level 1, 2 cards means you're at level 2, etc. If you lay down a card that has a number on it that is higher than the lowest card of one of your team mates, you loose a life. You have lost the game when there are no more lives left to lose. At the end of a level, all to cards go back on the pile to be reshuffled before you get a new set of cards. To show you are ready and you can't wait to get started, you simply place your hand on the table and look your team mates in the eye. As soon as everybody has placed their hand on the table, the game can begin. If, for whatever reason, you feel you have lost focus during the game, you can simply stop the game by placing your hand on the table again. The game can only continue after all your team mates have done the same. To prevent the game from turning into a staring contest, you have been given a so-called shuriken card. When you believe you have stared at each other long enough but without any results, you can collectively decide to play this card. But beware: this decision has to be unanimous. If you think that now is the time to play a shuriken, simply raise your hand and hope your team mates do the same! By playing the shuriken, each player will have to show their lowest card and discard it. Hopefully, this tells you all you needed to know. Complete all levels and you win the game.

Why is this a game worth playing?

It is an incredible game that allows you to quickly get in synch with each other. But you have to be willing to take it seriously and leave your ego behind. So refrain from making silly faces. Please, please, please, don't try to come up with some novel way to place your hand on the table. Just do what the game tells you to do. If you can do that, something amazing will happen. Because, here's the kicker, it really is possible to communicate by simply looking at each other. It is exhilarating to be able to 'feel' who should be the one to lay down the next card and get to that next level. Each level, the rows of numbers get longer and the game becomes more exciting. Each level you pass truly is a shared victory. Together you will succeed or possibly fail, but what ever happens, you have done it together!

And why is this one of my favourite games?

For a team coach, The Mind is an excellent way to start a team session because it gives you an opportunity to observe them as a team instead of individual players. Typical behaviours quickly float to the surface during this game giving you a clear picture of the group's dynamics. The game can also help people to break away from the daily grind and allows you to pool everybody's attention and focus in a playful way.

Interested in the details?

The Mind is a game by White Goblin Games

Cards: 100 playing cards numbered 1 - 100, 12 level cards, 3 shuriken cards, 5 life cards

Duration: 15 - 20 minutes

Number of players: 2 - 4

Want to know more about the rules? Just watch this video.

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